Latest On Hurricane Heading For The Carolinas

Hurricane Florence: What you need to know to stay safe

Hurricane Florence: What you need to know to stay safe

Packing winds of up to 220 km/h (140 mph) late Monday, Florence was expected to further strengthen and become "an extremely risky major hurricane" by the time in makes landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a 21:00 UTC update.

Faced with new forecasts that showed a more southerly threat, Georgia's governor joined his counterparts in Virginia and North and SC in declaring a state of emergency, and some residents who had thought they were safely out of range boarded up their homes.

In addition to winds, the storm is expected to slow as it moves onto the coast and could deliver 15 to 20 inches of rain, with 30 inches locally, in North Carolina, Virginia and northern SC, the NHC said.

"Pretend, assume, presume that a major hurricane is going to hit right smack dab in the middle of South Carolina and is going to go way inshore", South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said.

The National Weather Service says more than 5.4 million people live in areas now under hurricane warnings or watches on the U.S. East Coast.

Every big airline that flies to the region had enacted a flexible rebooking policy for flyers ticketed to airports likely to be in Florence's path.

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the USA electricity sector has been well prepared for Hurricane Florence even as hundreds of thousands of homes lose power in the storm.

Rain totals may climb over 20 inches in parts of inland North Carolina and Virginia.

Hamrick confirmed on Monday that he has been in communication with SC athletic director Ray Tanner to discuss potential contingency plans as Hurricane Florence makes it way toward the Carolinas. Charles Mullen, 81, a longtime resident of Hatteras Island, North Carolina, said he had ridden out many storms and that most locals were planning to stay unless Florence took aim at Hatteras.

A Category 5 storm means it has sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or more. "That's my one and only dealing with a hurricane". Roberts said he's telling them to get out of town.

A category 4 hurricane has winds in the 130 to 156 miles per hour range, according to the NHC.

Millions evacuatedHurricane Florence has prompted North Carolina residents to stockpile supplies as many are evacuated.

In Virginia, where about 245,000 residents were ordered to evacuate low-lying areas, officials urged people to remain away from home despite forecast changes showing Florence's path largely missing the state.

"There is an increasing risk of coastal storm surge flooding and freshwater flooding from heavy prolonged rain when the hurricane approaches the USA", said a NOAA tweet.

"It's on par with the storms we flew previous year, like Maria and Irma", Kibbey said.

Amtrak is also waiving fees for travelers and said it will accommodate customers on other trains. "The threat will be inland, so I'm afraid, based on my experience at FEMA, that the public probably not as prepared as everybody would like", said Craig Fugate, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Lining up behind Florence, Isaac was about 1,150 miles (1,855 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands with top winds of 75 mph (120 kph) early Monday, moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).

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